Impact Advisors POV: Looking to the (Near) Future
Although recently released, publicly available large language models have generated enormous public interest and unprecedented hype, the rapid evolution and adoption of these products is creating a chaotic marketplace and uncertain regulatory environment that will likely last for at least a few years.
Most large HIT vendors are – or will soon be – pursuing use cases for Generative AI. Established, healthcare-specific companies such as enterprise EHR vendors will likely take a somewhat cautious approach, partnering with tech giants and developing use cases with clients. There is already no shortage of Generative AI-focused healthcare startups, and hospitals and health systems will likely soon be overwhelmed by the sheer number of Generative AI vendors pitching solutions. Some niche vendors will have good ideas in theory, but their products may not be feasible in practice due to a lack of understanding of the healthcare space. Other niche vendors may not offer true Generative AI products (despite their claims) and will also fail in execution.
As with any new technology, the reaction to Generative AI from health delivery organizations has been mixed. Some hospitals and health systems are embracing the opportunity to dramatically ease administrative burdens through automation, while others are solely focusing on the risks and potential liability posed by Generative AI. The problem is that Generative AI is not “any new technology.” The massive interest that publicly available large language models generated in a matter of months – coupled with the very real potential for those tools to drive novel and fundamental near-term change – is without precedent in health delivery. Most hospitals and health systems will feel significant pressure to act soon and deliver real value from Generative AI, but many will move forward before they are ready. Success requires carefully navigating and addressing the unique risks posed by Generative AI, identifying use cases that will deliver tangible value, and most importantly of all, establishing the right governance.